While I did plan to share this recipe a while back, it was only after I received a request via Instagram did I actually get in the kitchen with chicken wings and camera in hand. The person who made the request was looking for a chicken wing idea to prepare for her Super Bowl party.. but she wasn’t a fan of the typical “Buffalo Wings”. With that in mind, I decided to give her and her guests a true taste of the Caribbean by using a tamarind glaze with a slight kick, to finish off the wings.
3- 5 lbs chicken wings + veg oil for frying
– 1/4 cup salt
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 3 cups water
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
– 1 scallion
– 2 slices ginger
– 4-6 allspice berries
– 4 sprigs thyme
– 1 cup tamarind pulp
– 3 cloves garlic
– 4-5 cups water
– 2 slice ginger
– 2 scallions
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
– juice of 2 oranges
– 1 scotch bonnet pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tablespoon honey
Note: While I used 3 lbs of wings, this recipe will work for 3-5 lbs of chicken wings.
Cut your wings into 2 parts (if they came attached) and trim off any extra skin and fat. Then place all the ingredients for making the brine in a pot and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and let it go for 2-3 minutes. Put the brine in the fridge (I placed it on my porch as it’s wintertime here). You can put some ice cubes in the brine to chill it faster, but I didn’t as I didn’t want it to be diluted. The brine MUST be chilled before you pour it over the chicken wings. Place the wings in the brine in the fridge for 1 hour. Do NOT go beyond the 1 hour or they could turn out to be salty.
As the wings brine, it’s time to get started on the glaze. Place the tamarind pulp (you can get it at Asian, Latino, West Indian and many everyday supermarkets) in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and using a spoon, break it up to get the pulp to release the tamarind goodness. As it simmers, add the slices of ginger and smashed garlic cloves. After about 5-7 minutes, you should have a smooth consistency (except for the seeds of the tamarind). Take it off the stove and strain.
In a saucepan heat the olive oil on a medium flame, then add the chopped scallions.. turn the heat down to low and cook for 2 minutes. Now it’s time to add the diced scotch bonnet pepper (use as much as you can handle, NO seeds unless you want that raw heat and be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after handling the pepper) and stir well.
Add the strained tamarind liquid and all of the other ingredients for the glaze. turn up the heat and bring to a boil.. then reduce to a simmer.
After about 7 minutes you can take out about 3/4 cup and set aside as a dip. Continue reducing (stir well.. the sugars will cause it to want to stick and burn) until you have a thick glaze. Takes about 15 minutes in total. Remove off the fire and set aside. You’re looking for a glaze which is tangy, relatively sweet and a bit spicy from the scotch bonnet pepper. Do adjust the sugar to your liking.
I forgot to mention that you should remove the wings out of the fridge to bring it up to room temperature before frying. Drain the brine and rise with cool water. Try to rise well so we get rid of most of the salty brine. Drain and pat-dry with paper towels.
Heat your veg oil on a med/high flame (to about 375 F) in a pot with high sides, so you don’t splash and dirty your stove. I used about 3 cups of veg oil. You’re free to bake the wings off or grill them. Gently place the dry wings into the heated oil and cook for about 15 minutes or until golden and fully cooked. I did mine in two batches so the pot wasn’t crowded – yes you can use a deep fryer. Once fried, place on paper towels to soak up any extra oil.
You now have two options, you can place the wings in a large bowl and pour the glaze over them – toss! Or you can do as I did.. I placed the pan with the glaze back on a low flame and tossed the wings directly in the pan. This gives me more of a glazed/sticky texture to the wings.
Top with some chopped scallions, cilantro or sesame seeds and serve warm. These wings will excite your taste-buds and I guarantee you that your friends will be begging you for the recipe. it’s ok to fib and say it’s a family secret (smile).